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What Can You Do About the Excess Stuff in Your House?

Do you resist cleaning out your garage or your basement because you don’t know what you’ll do with the stuff you decide to get rid of? It’s sometimes hard to decide whether to have a garage sale, take it to a thrift store, or leave it right where it is undisturbed. Choice number 3 often wins. There’s another choice that’s pretty exciting. It’s called freecycling . . . it’s kinda like dumpster diving on the internet. I am a co-moderator of the Lawrence, KS, freecyclers.

Here’s how we describe freecycling:

What is freecycling? The idea is simple: FREE + RECYCLE = FREECYCLE. Use the internet to get rid of things around the house that you no longer need or are cluttering your life. Or, find things others want to get rid of that you can put to good use.

  • Do you have a closet or garage full of things you no longer need?
  • Do you want to declutter your life?
  • Are garage sales too much hassle, or do you have items that are usable but can’t be sold in a thrift store?

Freecyclers post items such as appliances and electronics (both working and non-working but fixable), furniture, scrap wood, gardening supplies, moving boxes and packing supplies, used magazines, home decor items, clothes, crafting supplies, toys, books, etc. Join the freecycle movement to help keep our unused, unwanted things out of landfills and into the hands of people who want or need them.

"It’s not about exchanging junk. It’s about reducing waste and finding new uses for old items rather than disposing of our natural resources as if they were never-ending. It’s about teaching our children respect for Mother Earth and the value of sharing and lending a hand whenever possible. It’s about becoming more sensible consumers thereby contributing not only to the preservation of our planet for future generations but also to the effort to change a few values so that we may leave a better, more caring society for our children and their children to live in." – Columbia George Freecycle Group Moderator  

How does it work?

Freecycling is easy. To participate, simply subscribe to the freecycle group in your local area ( Use the list to post a message about a usable item(s) that you’d like to give away, or an item you are seeking. Receive emails from others who have items to offer (or view postings on the Yahoo Groups website if you don’t want to receive lots of extra email).

Everything posted on the list must be FREE and legal. No politics, religion, advertising or spam, and no trading or bartering is allowed. The email discussion group acts as a venue for freecyclers to connect. Those interested in items reply directly to the poster and arrangements for picking up items occur off the list through email between the "offerree" and the "wantee."

Click here for some ideas of what can be freecycled. More about the Freecycle Movement

Begun in March 2003 in Tucson, AZ, Freecycle is rapidly expanding to cities across the globe. As of mid-August 2004, there are 1298 networks and 424,148 Freecyclers worldwide.

Freecycle in the News Freecycling explored as alternative to dumping From each according to his junk, to each according to her need Freecycling in Tucson

"Freecycling lies somewhere between the garage sale and the dump, and is much cooler than either. It’s an innovative concept that harnesses the power of the Internet to do what the Internet does best — eliminate the middleman and empower the individual. Unlike traditional charitable organizations that accept people’s castoffs and sell them for low prices in unappealing shops (or end up taking them to the dump anyway), freecycling allows for personal contact between donor and recipient — each gets exactly what they want, and nobody is considered a ‘charity case.’ (Indeed, many freecyclers both give and receive items on a regular basis.) It’s a perfect consumer-friendly circle: no overhead, no intermediaries, no money changing hands, no waste and no catch, and everyone’s happy.

Freecycling. . . one simple, brilliant idea that’s changing the world." – Wes, Moderator of Freecycle Austin, Texas

Join the Freecycle movement Please add your comment at the link below. We want to hear from you!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Until today I didn’t know freecycling existed. What a great idea! I looked up Cincinnati and there is a group here with 2944 members. Cool! The group was started in January 2004, not bad. Thanks for the tip.

    Sister in Cincinnati

  2. Mary says:

    Hi Cheryl
    I have been a member of kcfreecycle for a long time and I’d share two things… first dont ask to be put on the mailing list! Your mailbox will get stuffed. Its better to just check the site. Second… try to post all your “offer”s and the corresponding “taken” from the same email address so its easier to match them up for those on the email listing.

    Beyond that its a great way to break the ice and make new friends if you could use a few more. Just expand a bit in your responses and people may suprise you with their willingness to share and keep in touch.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I also dislike how freecycle clogs up your email. You have to surf through every item in your whole city to find something that you want. It’s a pain. I like a new service at When I’m giving I seem to get less anoying questions. When I’m taking, I just set up a list of stuff that I want and I get an alert via email when it is available. Very convenient! I guess at the end of the day, both services help our the environment, which is the important thing at the end of the day.


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